EU and BiH Working Together for Stronger Rule of Law

On the occasion of the inaugural International Fraud Awareness Week being marked in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU Office in BiH organised a moderated discussion with representatives of EU funded projects in the sector of Rule of Law to highlight the importance of progress in the reform process in this area.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to find systemic solutions for a stronger Rule of Law system, which is the founding value of the European Union to which any future member must fully adhere. Today’s discussion is part of our initiative to reenergise the Rule of Law reform process in BiH. Our projects are here to support the process and we are happy to work together for stronger rule of law in BiH,” stated Nicolas Bizel, Head of Operations Section for Justice and Home Affairs and Public Administration Reform of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the discussion with representatives from the judiciary, civil society, the private sector and the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, key obstacles to the reform process were highlighted. While the majority of the participants agreed on the need to overcome standstill rooted in a “negative political will” to engage in successful reforms, the responsibility lays also with citizens who need to take action in their environment and demand for change.

“Our goal is to raise awareness and bring to the public eye the importance of understanding the complexity of fraud, corruption and criminal matters in this country. We wish to inform young people and the public of possible preventive measures and work together to find sustainable and beneficial results,” remarked Sabina Softić, Partner in Charge of Audit in Adriatic Region of Deloitte BiH, initiators of the International Fraud Awareness Week in BiH.

The Rule of Law is often seen as an abstract concept that is difficult to grasp. However, every citizen will agree that one wants to live in an organised and predictable environment that is governed by the law. The fruitful discussion highlighted some of the key achievements of eight EU-funded projects in the sector currently implemented, as well as recommendations for future engagements and activities. As underlined by the panellists, and in line with the conclusions of the first Rule of Law Convention in BiH and the Commission’s Opinion on BiH’s Membership application, a functional justice system that delivers is precondition for BiH to proceed in the EU Accession process.